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Dec 14, 2006 11:20 PM

vegetarian vietnamese in LA / SGV

Anyone know of any good vegetarian Vietnamese places in LA or the San Gabriel Valley? Not yuppie viet places with some vegetarian options like Blue Hen, Gingergrass or Pho cafe (no disrespect meant to any of those places), but entirely vegetarian, like Golden Era in San Francisco / Oakland or Au Lac in Fountain Valley.

I know about the place (the tofu factory) up in Reseda, and a couple of places in Fountain Valley.

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  1. There's a place near Garvey and Rosemead Blvd., but the name escapes me at this time. It was decent but not memorable. There are also a store on Valley Blvd. in Rosemead that manufactures tofu. However, it's not a restaurant, and you'd probably need to speak Vietnamese to order there.

    7 Replies
    1. re: raytamsgv

      I think that's Veggie Life, near the SW corner of Garvey and Rosemead.

      1. re: raytamsgv

        That might be the place I remember from a while back. Is it still there? I remember one time (a few years ago) driving up and down Rosemead looking for it!.

        Do you think there's anyone who speaks Chinese at the tofu place?

        1. re: will47

          Here's the contact information about the tofu place:

          V K Food Products
          9210 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA
          (626) 288-1001

          According to my sources, Vietnamese and Cantonese are definitely spoken. Mandarin is probably spoken. However, it depends on who is working that day. They offer regular tofu, fried tofu, tofu dessert (I think it is "dou hu hua" in Mandarin and "dou foo fa" in Cantonese), and other desserts.

          1. re: raytamsgv

            Oh - ok. I think I know the place you're talking about. Thanks.

          2. re: will47

            Veggie Life is still there on the corner of Rosemeand and Garvey. My mom is a vegetarian and this place is in our regular rotation. I've heard Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English spoken at VK Foods. I've never had a problem with my mix of English and Mandarin! I'm not the biggest soy products fan but I love their soy milk.

            1. re: crystaw

              Yeah - no problems communicating at VK Foods - I was talking about the other place. The fried tofu at VK is really, really good, esp. the wood-ear and bean-thread noodle one fresh out of the fryer. Soy pudding (pandan, black sesame, plain) are also pretty good. Haven't had their dou hua still.

              Veggie Life is all right, but a little gnarly. I would elaborate, but I think the post would get moderated out. (And no - I'm not generally super afraid of restaurants without that 'A' in the window, nor am I afraid of a little dirt.)

              1. re: will47

                Oops sorry - thought you meant VP Tofu, not VK Foods.

        2. Replying to myself.... and resurrecting an ancient thread.

          A Vietnamese place called Veggie World (the Chinese name is 素香園) recently opened up at 321A Garvey in Mpk. I think they moved there from Mission (near Rosemead Blvd), though I'm not sure if they were operating continuously. I know they were open at one of their old locations as far back as 1998 based on the newspaper articles on the wall (e.g.,

          We started with some fried spring rolls, which were pretty good, but tiny.

          We tried two noodle soups (Beef Pho and Bun Bo Hue). Despite the big 'pho' sign in the window, it sounded like their specialties may lie in other areas (the chef or owner mentioned a fish dish and their Beijing roast duck to some of the other customers as specialties). Either way, I thought both soups were a little lackluster - they weren't temperature hot enough, and the seasoning was off (especially of the pho broth). The texture of the noodles was Ok, but not amazing - at least they weren't overly mushy.

          The restaurant still feels very clean and new inside, and work was still being done to update the signs outside. The service was a little slow, and since the waitress didn't speak much English *or* Mandarin, communication was a little difficult.

          I will definitely make another visit to try their rice dishes after they have some time to settle in.

          Some photos & the gf's take at:

          1. Ha Tien Quan on Valley, better known for their Bun Mam, has at least some vegetarian food most of the time, and especially on certain days of the lunar month when many Buddhist lay-people eat vegetarian.

            But from now until a month or so after the lunar new year, they'll have many vegetarian items every day, including some stewed tofu and gluten in the display case, and a number of items written on plates on the right-side wall. They have vegetarian bun mam, bun bo hue, pho, banh xeo, etc. I think comparable to, or slightly better than, many of the other vegetarian Viet options in the SGV.

            2 Replies
            1. re: will47

              There are also a couple of newer places near the temple in El Monte (besides the one mentioned above) -- Thien Tam, Lien Hoa Chay. Tried the latter once, but showed up kind of early, so things were very disorganized. Food was just Ok.

              Also, in the "non-vegetarian Vietnamese places that have some vegetarian (including no fish sauce) items" category, Ban Cuon Tay Ho has a whole vegetarian section, including vegetarian banh uot and other similar items. Hai Nam Saigon in 168 plaza (Alhambra) also appears to have a couple of vegetarian banh uot options.

              1. re: will47

                Thien Tam's menu is actually almost entirely vegan. They have a few non-vegan items that have egg noodles. The food is wonderful, but the ambiance leaves something to be desired.

            2. In the South Bay (Lawndale) Saigon Dish has vegetarian Pho and many other vegetarian dishes.